Thanksgiving and Prayer for Our Shepherds

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faithHebrews 13:7

I get the chance to work with such a faithful band of Christ-devoted, church-loving elders and deacons.

As you know, my family and I were away last week for vacation, enjoying the sugary white sands of the South Fort Walton beaches in Florida. In my absence, we had, as we often do in a week’s time, several important shepherding issues arise within our church family. (The types of issues that make a pastor feel bad for being away, and even wonder if he should jump in the car and head back to middle Tennessee!) With no prompting on my part, several of your elders and deacons dropped everything they were doing to meet the needs in the flock of God.

Seeing this really blessed my heart, and if I may say so, it should bless your heart too. Your shepherds love you. They really do. I have the phone messages and e-mails from this week to prove it! Knowing this to be true, let me encourage you to pray for your shepherds regularly. We need it. In fact, there are a few things that I would ask you to pray for right now.

During our Leadership Meeting for August, we took a couple of hours to brainstorm together about particular areas for growth/maturity at Cornerstone in the 2013-2014 church year. Among the many desires voiced and areas named, four primary areas were identified for growth/maturity this year.

  1. Breadth & Depth of Discipleship
  2. Mercy Ministry & Outreach to the Franklin Community
  3. Leadership Development & Multiplication
  4. Congregational Fellowship & Intimacy

Taking this list into account, here is how you can pray for your shepherds and our church at this time:

  • We yearn for Cornerstone to be an inviting place for both the maturing Christian and those just beginning their Christian life or just exploring Christianity. Pray that we might be a welcoming and discipling church for every person in every age and stage of Christian life (Matt. 5:16; John 15:8).
  • God has been so gracious to raise up godly leadership, but we have an ongoing need for more servant leaders. Pray for a band of qualified men and women who will commit their life to serving in the church in various ways and will unreservedly but humbly commit to be numbered among the servant leaders (1 Peter 4:10-11; 5:1-4).
  • God has certainly advanced our fellowship and intimacy as a congregation by our Home Fellowship Group ministry, in which over half of our congregation participates. But with new faces in our midst all the time, coupled with the two Sunday morning services, we sense there is a missing intimacy in some sectors and a need for a stronger sense of belonging in our corporate identity. Pray that God would open up our hearts to one another in every opportunity for fellowship, and that we would commit to grow broadly and deeply in our relationships with one another (Phil. 2:1-2; 1 John 1:1-4)

The elders and deacons will gather back up in September to discuss more strategically how to put in place some measurable goals for each of these areas for this year. We welcome, as always, your input into that process. We love hearing from you. But even more important, we all need to hear from God… so please pray.

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